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Scandinavian Mystery Writers; Part 1 of 3

Updated on November 16, 2012

Until recently, much Scandinavian crime fiction wasn’t translated into English. Due to the worldwide success of Stig Larsson’s Millennium series, The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played With Fire, and The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, that has changed. Currently, several excellent Scandinavian mystery authors are reaping the benefits of his success and getting their novels translated into English. Foreign books were well received and best sellers in other countries before they were translated into English so there will be a good chance they are entertaining and readable since they are popular world wide. Some of these books are darker than American crime fiction, and the endings aren't tied up as neatly as American stories. One of the dangers of reading foreign books translated into English is they they may be clunky and awkward to read. One way to overcome this is to find a good author/translator combination that's easy to read and stick with them.

Karin Altvegen

Karin Altvegen is the grand niece of Astrid Lindgren, author of the Pippi Longstocking books. Altvegen’s novel, Missing was nominated for an Edgar Award in 2008. It is about a street woman falsely accused of a serial murder. Other of her books were nominated for awards. She doesn’t spend much time on the detail of surroundings, but writes from inside the mind of her characters. Betrayal, Shame and Shadow are some of her other novels.

Ake Edwardson

Erik Winter is Ake Edwardson’s character in ten of Ake Edwardson’s books. His book, Frozen Tracks, was a finalist for the L. A. Times Book Prize in 2008. In Frozen Tracks, Inspector Erik Winter has two crimes that appear to be unrelated that come together. Never End and Sun and Shadow are two of his other books.

Kerstin Ekman

Kerstin Ekman was a member the Nobel literature committee. She resigned when the Nobel Literature Committee failed to support Salmden Rushdie in the Satanic Verses controversy when he was the subject of an Islamic fatwa. Her novels are set in far Northern Sweden, where it is either light or dark most of the time. Blackwater and Under The Snow have been translated into English. Blackwater has been a bestseller in Sweden for several years. It is about a teacher that finds two bodies. The solution to the murders hinge on someone she saw that night, and the mystery isn’t resolved until years later. It is also popular with readers who generally don’t read mysteries. To investigate these murders, Inspector Thorsson has to travel on skis to the site. Her novels are psychological.

Karin Fossum

The Times of London named Norwegian writer, Karin Fossum, one of the 50 greatest crime fiction writers of all time. Indian Bride was the Los Angeles Times Book List winner in 2008. It is one of her series with Inspector Sejer as the main character, and takes place in Norway. Her books tend to be psychological thrillers. Don’t Look Back and He Who Fears the Wolf are other Inspector Sejer books. Don’t Look Back is the first Inspector Sejer book. It is about the murder of a young girl. There are few clues and suspects for the Inspector to sort through. Her books are translated into sixteen languages. Fossum's books aren't always traditional mysteries, but looks at the characters and examines them.

Anders Rosland and Borge Helstrom

Rosuland is a journalist and Helstrom is an ex criminal that have worked on several novels together. Box 21 is about forced prostitution in Sweden. Young women brought into Sweden are beaten and raped until they submit to prostitution. Box 21 is the storage compartment that holds the key to the story. Their novels are brutal and realistic They can be abrasive with characters that are unsympathetic. I reviewed Box 21 more completely on another hubpage.

This list of Scandinavian mystery writers continues in part 2 of 3.

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